Beijing (AsiaNews/Agencies) - After Malaysia's Prime Minister announced yesterday evening the disappearance of Flight MH370 and the death of all the people on board, anger among victims' relatives, most of whom were Chinese, turned into protests this morning in front of the Malaysian embassy in Beijing.
Although the Malaysian authorities concluded that the plane crashed in the southern Indian Ocean, the mystery remains.
In the Chinese capital, protesters clashed with police. Throwing bottles, they tried to break into the embassy, demanding the "truth" about what happened, and justice for the victims.
Meanwhile, because of foul weather, the search for the wreckage was called off today.
Speaking yesterday evening, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak said, "It is therefore with deep sadness and regret that I must inform you that according to this new data, Flight MH370 ended in the southern Indian Ocean," off Australia's west coast, in "a remote location, far from any possible landing sites".
Although Najib did not use the word "crash," he and Malaysian Air authorities sought to remove any doubt that the plane ended up anywhere else than at sea, after days in which the absence of evidence had fuelled conspiracy theories. In fact, "We do not know why, and we do not know how this terrible tragedy happened," Malaysia Airlines Managing Director Ahmad Jauhari said.
Still, many distraught family members have accused the airline and the Malaysian government of "delaying, hiding and covering up the truth".
As any lingering hope of finding the passengers vanished, anguish gave way to anger, with some relatives demonstrating in front of the Malaysian Embassy in Beijing.
In a scathing statement, families pledged to take legal action against "Malaysia Airlines, the Malaysian government and military," which in their view "are the real executioners who killed" their loved ones.
Still, the fate of the Malaysia Airlines flight, the people on board and the cause of the disaster remain a mystery.
"[U]ntil we recover and positively identify a piece of debris, everything is virtually speculation," Australian Defence Minister David Johnston said.
The Boeing 777-200, which had 239 people on board, including a crew of 12, disappeared on 8 March over the sea south of Vietnam.
According to the passenger list, Flight 370 carried 153 passengers from China, 38 from Malaysia, 12 from Indonesia, and others from Australia, Europe and the United States.
So far, Malaysia Airlines has had a good record, with nearly four decades without major accidents. Its worst incident dates back to 1977, when 100 people died.
On average, the airline carries up to 37,000 passengers a day to 80 destinations worldwide, but in recent years, it has piled up losses because of competition from low-cost carriers, like Malaysia's own Air Asia.
Yesterday, a Malaysia airline flight from Kuala Lumpur to Seoul's Incheon airport had to make an emergency stop in Hong Kong when the plane's electrical generator stopped working.